Speaker: Rachel Rabkin Peachman

Episode 102: When Children Feel Pain with Dr. Anna Wilson and Rachel Rabkin Peachman

One out of five children in the US suffers chronic pain.

From the prick of a vaccine to stomach pain, headaches, and chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia, children’s pain is being undertreated. Today Tami is joined by Dr. Anna Wilson and Rachel Rabkin Peachman to discuss the research on pediatric pain and simple ways you can help children manage their pain. Anna and Rachel are the authors of When Children Feel Pain: From Everyday Aches to Chronic Conditions, a powerful book that covers a wide range of pain-related topics in children.

In this conversation, Tami, Rachel, and Anna discuss why Rachel and Anna became interested in researching children’s pain, how they first found each other and connected over their overlapping pursuits, limitations of the ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) framework, the increasing cultural awareness of the impact of medical trauma, what research shows about non-verbal signs of pain in babies and infants, the problem with clinicians relying on physiological pain symptoms alone, shocking statistics on the number of children having chronic pain, how Anna and Rachel are hoping to improve the long-term outcomes for children feeling pain, the horrifying stories of babies in recent history getting surgery without anesthesia, how long it takes for breakthroughs in research to move into practice, teaching kids the tools to cope with pain through needle pricks, Tami’s insights from the way her body reacted to the traumatic stories shared in When Children Feel Pain, what research shows about babies’ bodies storing the memories of painful events, the non-genetic connection between kids and parents with chronic pain, how parents can create empowering messaging around pain for their children, why coaching is so helpful for navigating these situations, resources for parents with kids dealing with pain, why it’s crucial to manage your child’s pain, the issue of diagnostic uncertainty, tools parents can use, Rachel and Anna’s messages of hope for parents and children living with chronic pain, and more.

As someone who felt alone as a child in pain, Tami believes anyone who influences young lives can benefit from reading the book. While it’s a hard truth to read in places, it’s also full of hope and offers practical suggestions for what we can do to change the future.

Each exposure to pain builds on the last, and it’s never too late to course-correct.

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